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Perception and Representation in Leibniz

Puryear, Stephen Montague (2006) Perception and Representation in Leibniz. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Though Leibniz's views about perception and representation go to the heart of his philosophy,they have received surprisingly little attention over the years and in many ways continue tobe poorly understood. I aim to rectify these shortcomings. The body of the work beginswith an exploration of Leibniz's proposed analysis of representation (Chapter 2). Iargue that on this analysis representation consists in a kind of structural correspondence--roughly an isomorphism--between representation and thing represented. Special attentionis given to the application of this analysis to the challenging cases of linguistic and mentalrepresentation. The next two chapters concern what I take to be the central issue of thework: the nature of distinct perception. I explain the multifarious ways in which this concept figures into Leibniz's system, and argue that the three most prominent accounts of distinct perception proposed in recent decades fall short of what we should expect from an adequate theory (Chapter 3). Then, building on the account of representation defended in Chapter 2, I propose and develop an alternative theory, which I call the explicit content account (Chapter 4). It not only enjoys significant textual support, I contend, butsorts well with and sheds considerable light on the various uses to which Leibniz puts theconcept of distinct perception. Finally, I argue that the explicit content account of perceptualdistinctness also provides us with the correct account of the sense in which concepts (or ideas)are distinct, that is, with the correct account of conceptual distinctness (Chapter 5). In doingso I set myself against the received view that concepts are not distinct (or confused) in thesame sense as perceptions. Taken together, these points paint a simpler, more comprehensive,and more enlightening picture of the Leibnizian mind than those suggested by previous work.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Puryear, Stephen Montaguestp11@pitt.eduSTP11
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRescher, Nicholasrescher@pitt.eduRESCHER
Committee MemberMcGuire, J Ejemcg@pitt.eduJEMCG
Committee MemberBrandom, Robertrbrandom@pitt.eduRBRANDOM
Committee MemberEngstrom, Stephenengstrom@pitt.eduENGSTROM
Date: 5 June 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 5 December 2005
Approval Date: 5 June 2006
Submission Date: 24 April 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Philosophy
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: secondary qualities; sensible qualities
Other ID:, etd-04242006-131346
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:41
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:42


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